EF 17-55 /2.8 IS

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by henry_l, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    Been a long time reader of the forum, and have learn a lot. So here's my first post and first question.
    I've been agonizing over buy a new lens, and I've narrowed it down to the EF-S 17-55. Has anyone tried using this lens for action photography? Like kids and toddlers running around? I'd like to have this lens for low light, and situations where I can get away without flash, and still capture sharp kids in motion.
    Any thoughts? Alternate lenses? thanks in advance!
     
  2. Assuming you have an ASP-C camera its probably the best generally purpose lens you can get. With no flash however every bit helps so I would consider a fast prime as well but as zooms go the 17-55 is probably your best bet.
     
  3. Henry,
    I have not had the luxury of using this lens. Also, I think that you mean the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS. Being that this lens is EF-S, it is not compatable with FF EOS cameras. What camera do you currently own? An alternate lens would be the recently released Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 with VC (Tamron's version of IS). Cheers!
     
  4. there isn't a better option. practice panning and zooming at the same time -- like, when subject gets closer you zoom out (wider). 17-55 is a fantastic performer -- excellent focus speed, optically can't be beat, fast at 2.8
     
  5. Thanks all for your responses.
    I have a T1i, and do intend to stick to APS-C for most of my general purpose photography, and I do intend on moving to the 7D (or successor) in years (or months) to come. Full-Frame is a big maybe, and I seldom do landscape, but it's not out of the question, just a matter of funding.
    I also have the "nifty fifty" and I love it. I was on the fence about the 17-55 or the 85/1.8. Big price difference there! I mainly do portraits, and working on building a side job of photography. But at the same time I'm gonna be a 1st time dad, so I'd like to get great shots of our newborn in low-light, and with a quiet motor so as to not wake him. And when he start running around, I want to make sure I don't miss too many shots, but still having the versatility to move with him and zoom in and out while maintaining wide apertures. I'm ready to spend the grand for the 17-55, but that about all I can afford now, and it's a stretch. I looked at the Tamron 17-50, and it's got great reviews too. The VC isn't yet available, but I can always wait till that arrives too.
     
  6. The nifty-fifty is probably all you'll need to photograph your first-born for quite a while. So you might not need to rush to the 17-55 right now. (Don't worry about the focusing sound; it's not an issue.) Besides, a Tamron 17-50/2.8 (non-VC) and 85/1.8 "kit" is probably cheaper than the 17-55 alone. Such a kit also means less money spent on non-FF lenses.
     
  7. One thing you could try is setting your 50 to F2.8 to see if you can stop the action sufficiently at that value.
    If you can't you'll need a faster lens or a camera with better high ISO's...
    (Or both.)
    Have fun, Matthijs.
     
  8. The zoom should be a great lens for this. In fact, the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is almost reason to buy a cropped sensor body in and of itself. There really isn't a lens with equivalent functionality for full frame bodies.
    Ignore the tired old "buy a 50mm prime" advice. It is way out of date. It would have been fine advice back in the days of 35mm film cameras and when excellent and high quality zoom lenses were unavailable. Today it is poor advice for virtually buyers in your category - 50mm is the wrong focal length for most users, you'll find great utility in the flexibility of the zoom, the IS feature is almost certain to be very useful to you.
    Dan
     
  9. Henry,
    You should give some serious thought to getting a speedlite. While there has yet to be made a pop-up flash that’s better than almost useless, a camera-mounted flash with a swivel head is a true miracle. The basic idea is that you point the flash at a wall or a ceiling and “bounce” the light onto the subject. The net effect is of a large, diffuse, directional light — which is exactly what you want.
    And since it’s not pointed at the eyes, there’s nothing to worry about with hurting an infant.
    I’m attaching a picture of a young cat that I took with on-camera bounced flash to give you an idea of what’s possible.
    Cheers,
    b&
    00V981-196577584.jpg
     
  10. Dan,
    Henry’s situation is one of the exact ones where the nifty fifty makes perfect sense. He wants a portrait lens for an infant to be used in low-light situations. The field of view is right, the maximum aperture is right, the price is right — really, for him, it’s a no-brainer.
    Cheers,
    b&
     
  11. Like others have mentioned, F2.8 isn't usually enough to stop action in low light, even at ISO 1600, and the IS feature won't help for moving kids. F2.8 and IS is great for fairly static subjects and the 17-55 is great for travel and walkaround, excelling at evening street scenes, twilight landscapes and dim churches and bars. The AF is cracking fast and tracks well if there's enough light. I thinks the others are right about learning to use bounce flash for really dim light.
    My 17-55 review:
    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/canon_efs17-55.htm
     
  12. @ Ben,
    I do have speedlite, 430 ExII. It's been working out great for my indoor needs as the IR beam helps the 50mm focus in low light. But to add complication, I was also on the fence to adding a 580 II since I want to get the flash off-camera, by using the master/slave combo for 580/430. I've considered buy a low-budget radio trigger to accomplish this with just the 430 as well. But at the same time, I wanted a lens "upgrade" thus the efs 17-55 for the fast lens with zoom in the focal range I want, but also try to get away with not having flash if I didn't need to have it. But it certainly doens't hurt to have it, since I'm experimenting off-camera. I was very close to getting a 580 a few days ago, but haven't pulled the trigger, since it is considerably less than getting the 17-55.
    Which purchase, (if I should get anything at all at this point), would help expand/evolve my photography to the next level? Off-camera flash, or fast zoom lens? I like flexibility as well. ...gosh...too many trade-offs.
     
  13. Fine choice - go for it. Do watch out for sample variations though - my 1st sample was blurry and my current sample front-focuses badly (fixable with micro-AF adjust).
    85/1.8 has fast USM focus as well, and is a wonderful complement to the 17-55. Or you could go slightly longer with a 100/2
     
  14. I vote for the lens assuming all you have is the 50 and probably the kit lens. I think priority wise you have a flash so a good lens will benefit you much more since there are ways to use 1 flash creatively ( bounce, diffuse etc ).

    A second flash or off camera flash is nice but not as high a priority. Also down the road maybe you can upgrade to the 7D and have the flash remote built in. I would imagine this will be the norm in bodies to come.
     
  15. Ignore the tired old "buy a 50mm prime" advice. It is way out of date. It would have been fine advice back in the days of 35mm film cameras and when excellent and high quality zoom lenses were unavailable.​
    Based on my own experience I respectfully disagree. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Besides, there won't be a whole lot of action to stop in the very beginning.
     
  16. It is a great lens. A little front heavy with the XT. f/2.8 and IS are great for indoor lighting. Focus was fast on my old XT, even faster now on my 50D. Don't expect huge increase on image quality comparing with the 18-55 kit lens, even it is a lot more expensive. Also 55mm is not that long when you shooting kids outdoor. With a smaller sensor f/2.8 does not generate as good background blur as f/2.8 on a full frame.
     
  17. Currently I have the 50mm, a Sigma 18-200 f/3.5-6.3 as my walk around lens, and a Lensbaby Muse (which I don't use too often), and my 430 EX II.
    I also have the battery grip as well, and a hand strap, and I have tried other heavy lenses, such as the 70-200 2.8, which felt OK and manageable.
    I have the focal range covered with my 18-200, but it still leaves something to be desired due to the variable aperture. The only thing stopping me from pulling the trigger on the 17-55 is the price. I can do fine without it, but with the combo that I have, will it make that much an impact, especially 1000 dollars worth of impact?
    I guess I can rent one to answer my own question. But my bottom line question was wondering if any of you had used it in action shots with kids running around. and how the IQ performs in those situations since kids can be unpredictable.
     
  18. Henry
    I rented a Canon 17-55 2.8 from Samy's for a weekend and then bought a Tamron 17-50 2.8 (not the current version with VC). Why did I go for the Tamron? Two reasons: It's way cheaper and it's quite a bit smaller and lighter. I've seen little to suggest that the Canon is significantly better optically, though I am sure that some may disagree. I'm not sure how many of them have personal experience with both.
    The size and weight differences were significant on my 30D, and will be quite welcome with a lightweight camera like your T1i.
    Cheers.
    Paul
     
  19. Paul I have experience with both, I have used the Tamron 28-75 and 17-50 as well as the Canon 17-55, 24-105 etc. The Canon will give you faster, more accurate silent autofocus as well as full time manual focusing I think the end result photo quality will not be much of a difference. The Canon does have IS, Weather that is worth the price is up to you, I honestly think the Tamron is one of the best lenses for the money but the Canon is more of a pro grade lens. Both are very good.
     
  20. People mention Canon's near-silent AF but I haven't found the focusing process of the Tamron to be a bother.
    In fact, I'll have to listen for it next time I shoot to see if I have something to complain about or not.
     
  21. Henry: if you have the non-OS Sigma the image quality improvement will be dramatic. Whether you buy the Tamron or the
    Canon 2.8 zoom. Or nearly any other modern quality lens. (I know because I have it...)

    G Dan. Henry already has the 50. My advice was to use that to see if f/2.8 would be fast enough...
     
  22. I'm gonna be a 1st time dad, so I'd like to get great shots of our newborn in low-light, and with a quiet motor so as to not wake him. And when he start running around, I want to make sure I don't miss too many shots, but still having the versatility to move with him and zoom in and out while maintaining wide apertures.​
    I frankly can't think of a better lens for this than the 17-55 IS. It is razor sharp, it is f2.8, it zooms, and it has IS, for which you will thank the gods over and over and over again as you photograph your young child and spouse daily in a sleepy half-light at shutter speeds down around 1/6th and 1/8th. When you can't use a flash, and you can't use a tripod, and your ISO is already cranked up all the way, IS is your only option unless you switch to a non-zooming prime.
    I use my 17-55 for all kinds of photography and it's basically the only reason I shoot APS-C along with full-frame. I daresay it's one of few EF-S lenses that makes full-frame shooters jealous. If Canon made the equivalent for full-frame, and of equal sharpness -- a 28-90/2.8 IS "L" lens -- it would probably be the most sought-after lens in the Canon lineup (and one of the most expensive!).
    Plenty of reviews on page 3 of this site (I feel that newer versions have largely solved the dust issues that people used to complain about, but maybe it was just internet amplification of a relatively rare problem).
    If for any reason you get the 17-55 and then change your mind, you could sell it for almost as much as you paid for it -- but I really don't know what you'd replace it with. If you want action shots and a zoom, there's nothing faster than f2.8, and the IS is well worth the additional price over competitors' lenses.
     
  23. Henry,
    By all means, get the el-cheapo $35 wireless transmitter. The 580EXII is a great flash, but it’s waaaaay overkill just to trigger another off-camera flash. There are those who’ll snort at the thought of anything less than a PocketWizard setup that costs more than the flash itself, but the fact of the matter is that the Cactus transmitter works everywhere a cord would and, if it fires once from a given location, it’ll fire pretty much every time from that same location. The Wizards are for those who can’t afford (literally) to even chance losing a single shot, but the rest of use mere mortals won’t even notice the difference.
    Indeed, I’d recommend a studio flash (such as one from Alien Bees) before getting another on-camera flash. It’ll have a lot more power and in general be much more flexible — provided, of course, you’re near a power outlet and can spare a couple extra moments to set things up. And a comparably-priced studio flash will make an on-camera flash seem like a candle.
    Cheers,
    b&
     
  24. "Henry’s situation is one of the exact ones where the nifty fifty makes perfect sense. He wants a portrait lens for an infant to be used in low-light situations. The field of view is right, the maximum aperture is right, the price is right — really, for him, it’s a no-brainer."
    It might be a fine solution for that precise shot: the baby not moving, shot from exactly one small range of distances, etc.
    However, the zoom can also do this shot very well... and it can do a ton of other shots that the OP will undoubtedly want to do as well.
    The prime gains little or nothing over the zoom for this type of user in this situation, and the zoom provides a bunch of additional functionality that he'll almost certainly find useful.
    I'm not "anti-prime" - I own and use several primes including a 50mm prime. However, I believe strongly that a prime (and particularly a 50mm prime) is the wrong first lens for virtually all new cropped sensor DSLR owners who are almost always better served these days by a zoom. For most of them the built-in flash is also fine for this sort of shot, though a decent external flash might also be useful. Frankly, though, if the typical T1i buyer is going to get a flash, then he or she could very appropriately get the EFS 18-55mm IS kit lens to start since the sub f/2 aperture isn't going to then be a critical issue.
    Dan
     
  25. What about considering the sigma 30mm 1.4? Fast, sweet bokeh and nice fov on crop cams. I'm with Dan G, the 50mm works better on 35mm film/full frame bodies, and even then, I'd rather use my 40mm/1.7 on my ql17.
    For off camera flash if your body can't trigger it, what about getting some rf-602 triggers off ebay? Those are very affordable.
    Alvin
     
  26. Cool cool. Thanks everyone. I'm liking Ben's idea of getting the low cost trigger, instead of the 580...I can forgo the TTL capabilities for now.
    Dan, the 50mm 1.8 was my first prime since it was the most affordable prime, and I use it well within it's limitations. It's a keeper.
    As for the Tamron, it's AF can't possibly be louder that the 50mm 1.8, that thing is a clunker. I don't have anything that is remotely quite, including my Sigma 18-200 w/ OS.
    OK, I guess I can say that I've narrowed it down further. I can forgo the 17-55 for now due to cost, and perhaps check out the Tamrons, but I can definitely get by with what I got so far. I just got that itch for an "upgrade" base on nicer lenses that I've handled so far such as the 70-200 2.8 IS, 24-105 f4 L. But I will definetely check out a cheap wireless trigger.
    Thanks all!
     
  27. For the OP of this thread, if you want one high quality lens the purchase the 17-55 f/2.8 IS. You will not regret purchasing the lens. Forget all of the advice about primes, etc. The 17-55 will not disappoint you.
    This lens will work perfectly for moving children.You shouldn't have any problem shooting in low light situations, but please don't confuse that with no light situations.
     
  28. Henry as to how loud the auto focus is, it never really bothered me and I never really noticed until I used a Canon L lens. Its just a little buzzy but what annoyed me is that it would often hunt in dim light. Its not really bad, just not as good so once I used an L I became spoiled. You mention using some Canon L lenses, the 17-55 is on par with the 24-105 in size and performance but not as good in the build quality. Its not poorly built just a little closer to the build of a consumer zoom like the 28-135.
     
  29. Everyone is wrong I am right, hehe. But seriously, do yourself a huge favor, Mr. Lee. And go on to your local camera shop and purchase the ef-s 17-55 f2.8 IS. You will love it and it will be like your second (if your little one is your first) baby. I know I love my baby too. You want to get the best, because the situation merits it. My boy is six months now, congrats on yours. And although I have the holy trinity of L primes, I find that my baby gets framed more often with my 17-55. Word of note, you may find that he may get serious when you hide behind your camera and that lens. Frame first, then get your face of camera talk to your baby and shoot. Have fun.

    [​IMG]


    My boy at 1 month. EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS, 430EX bounce flash
     
  30. The EF-S 17-55 is so good that when I was ready to upgrade from my 40D, I bought a 7D instead of a 5DM2. Although there are many benefits of FF, the lack of a FF equivalent to the 17-55 was a compelling enough reason for me not to make the switch. I also have a nifty fifty and the Canon 30 mm/f2. Despite this, I keep coming back to the zoom. 50 mm is just too long on crop sensor body for every day use. I love the 30 mm, but the versatility of the zoom just can't be beat.
     
  31. >>Assuming you have an ASP-C camera its probably the best generally purpose lens you can get. With no flash however every bit helps so I would consider a fast prime as well but as zooms go the 17-55 is probably your best bet.<<

    I dunno, Tommy. I am considering it for sure. Am torn between that and the 15-85. Leaning toward the 15-85 at the moment. The extra reach is more important to me than the extra speed of the 17-55. YMMV.
     
  32. In fact, the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is almost reason to buy a cropped sensor body in and of itself. There really isn't a lens with equivalent functionality for full frame bodies.​
    I wholeheartedly agree. It's a superb lens.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  33. Billy I would hold off on the 15-85, that lens has to come down in price. If your primary need is outdoor or to use with flash the extra reach will be useful. However, IMO a variable aperture lens that is 5.6 at 85mm does not seem to be worth $800.
     
  34. to shoot quietly so as not to wake baby, try live view. in this mode the mirror is locked up and shutter noise is almost non-existent. you have to focus manually -- there is an auto focus option but to use it the mirror flips down causing a loud snap
     
  35. I have this lens and use it all the time on my 40d love it to bits and the image quality is great. my only one complaint is that i get lens creap when pointing stright down to fix this i normaly just take the lens hood off which is enought to make the differance. like others in this forum i also have the nifty fiffty, but on my crop sensor it is just to long to use indoors and cannot remember the last time i used it. 17-55 2.8 it's great go for it
     
  36. The 17-55 f/2.8 is awesome. I repeat: awesome. I shoot my kids all the time with it from infants to-now-the oldest at 7. Low light, bright light, ice rinks, indoor, outdoor, soccer, portraits, parties, beautiful bokeh, super-sharp...it's truly the "walk around" lens for the cropped sensor. Pony up—you'll love it.
     
  37. Billy I would hold off on the 15-85, that lens has to come down in price. If your primary need is outdoor or to use with flash the extra reach will be useful. However, IMO a variable aperture lens that is 5.6 at 85mm does not seem to be worth $800.​
    I agree. It is, to be kind, overpriced and that is partly my reason for hesitating. In the interest of accuracy though, Adorama and B&H have the lens for $722. All that said, when I was playing with the 17-55 the other day, it certainly didn't feel like a $1000 lens.
     
  38. "I was playing with the 17-55 the other day, it certainly didn't feel like a $1000 lens."
    Billy I agree with you there too, I tested out the 17-55 and 24-105 and ended up with a 24-105. I know I strongly recommend the 17-55 and I still do but the build is closer to the cheaper consumer lenses and I knew I would be going full frame so I went with the L. However if you are using an ASP-C body I still think the 17-55 is your best option and sometimes I wish they made a more high end consumer zoom for full frame. The 24-70 is so heavy that I can't see using it so great build is not always such a great benefit, especially if your using it for travel. I lugged a 24-105 and 70-200 2.8 around the Galapagos islands in 98 degree heat and it was grueling.
    As to the 15-85, I did notice the price change, it must be part of the rebates, still $720 is even a little high, I would look to pay around $600 for that lens. I think it would make a nice travel lens. It looks pretty compact
     
  39. Once again, I haven't ruled out the possibility of dropping the grand to get the 17-55. each and every one of you who praised it moves me closer and closer to getting it. Christmas may be a good time. Thank you all. Does anyone use it with a grip? I have the T1i with the grip and it hasn't come off the camera yet, and I believe it should balance well.
     
  40. But I am a cheap consumer, Tommy. :)
    I sure would like to do something about upgrading before the holidays. My youngest grandson is 2-1/2 and I expect him to be extra precious at Christmas.
    I will probably just stick with my nifty 50 and wait a bit to see if the price comes down on the 15-85. I wish it was a constant 2.8, not a huge lens and still cost $800. The sky is chartreuse in my world. :D
     
  41. Billy if they make that lens I would be the first in line but I would not hold my breath :-}. I have 3 L lenses and most of the time I am using a 50 1.4 or 85 1.8. so I would probably use the 50 if I where you and hold off for now. But that 17-55 does produce very nice results even if it feels a bit cheap compared to the L's and now its not such an even field. When I got it the 24-105 was the same price now its about $250 difference.
     
  42. Is it a no-brainer if I can get the 17-55 with hood (used) for 780? Some guy locally is selling cuz he's got a 5D.
     
  43. That's pretty darn good. Bring your camera body and a flashlight and do the usual kick-the-tires thing--check for fungus, scratches on glass, smooth focus & zoom rings, undamaged filter ring, proper AF, IS & aperture blade operation. Some dust inside is acceptable (inevitable?) and the price is definitely right.

    If you have never used a ring-USM AF lens before, using it will be a wake up call for how good AF can get. Contrast detect and conventional DC motors got nothing on this. (FYI, this 17-55mm "Mini-L/Near-L" is my first ring USM lens.)
    I'd definitely agree to look at it at the very least. Good luck with the transaction.
     
  44. Does anyone use it with a grip? I have the T1i with the grip and it hasn't come off the camera yet, and I believe it should balance well.​
    I bought this lens last year after my Sigma 17-35mm bit the dust (after ten years of use). I was always fairly happy with results from the Sigma, but once I tried the Canon 17-55mm I was blown away! I use it on a XTI with grip and 40d with grip and it is VERY well balanced. I think I might already be preaching to the choir here, but you really can NOT go wrong with this lens.
     
  45. Great lens. The IS makes this a better lens than the 24-70 2.8 L lens, in my opinion. Have had this lens for about 7 months and it is on the camera far more than the "nifty 50".
     
  46. All that said, when I was playing with the 17-55 the other day, it certainly didn't feel like a $1000 lens.​
    The pictures do.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  47. Okay Tommy, et al, you guys have nearly talked me into it. I have reserved the 17-55 from lensrentals.com for the holiday.
     
  48. Hell's bells. I fired off an email to lensrentals.com suggesting they carry the 15-85. They emailed me right back saying they put it in stock yesterday. I have BOTH lenses coming for the holidays. I am happier than a pig in pooh.
     
  49. I am happier than a pig in pooh.​
    delicious
     
  50. The lenses just arrived!
     
  51. @ Billy,
    How'd the lenses work out for you? Your thoughts?
     

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